The Guyana Government has received a shipment of 83,000 doses of the Russian manufactured Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine which arrived in the country via the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on Monday (yesterday).
Some 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine, valued at $4 billion, were purchased by the Government while 24,000 doses were sent through the COVAX mechanism – the first tranche from 100,800 shots.
Additionally the Governments of China and India also donated 20,000 and 80,000 vaccines while Barbados sent 3,000.
According to reports, the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, uses two (2) different viruses that cause the common cold (adenovirus) in humans.
These adenoviruses are weakened so they cannot replicate in humans and cannot cause disease and are also modified so that the vaccine delivers a “code for making the coronavirus spike protein.”
The goal of this is to ensure that when the “real virus” tries to infect the body, an immune response can be mounted in the form of antibodies.
Sputnik uses a different vector for each of the two shots in a course of vaccination. This provides immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). The two (2) shots are given 21 days apart.
Sputnik V is to be stored at -18°C in its liquid form but also allows in its freeze-dried form, storage at 2-8°C, in a conventional refrigerator without any need to invest in additional cold-chain infrastructure.
Sputnik V is approved for use in over 55 countries with a total population of over 1.5 billion people, according to RDIF. It has proposed to price the vaccine at less than US$10 per shot.
On Thursday, the Government had announced the widened eligibility requirement for COVID-19 vaccination that allows for persons 18 years and older to get immunized and to date, the vaccination exercise which commenced in February has seen more than 70,000 persons have received the first of two doses.
As the vaccination rollout continues with almost 100 permanent sites in the 10 administrative Regions along with temporary sites in some areas, outreaches are being conducted in communities on a daily basis.